A proposed measure to require a supermajority of the Yakima City Council to approve any tax increase will go before voters in the November general election.
On Friday, the county’s Election Division verified that a petition to place the measure on the ballot had collected more than the 4,400 required signatures.
Under the proposal, a vote of a two-thirds majority or more — at least five of the City Council’s seven members council — would be needed to raise taxes.
A similar measure was voted down 4-3 by the City Council last January. Organizers of the petition drive include Bruce Smith, publisher of the Yakima Valley Business Times, City Council members Bill Lover and Rick Ensey, and local property developer Ben Shoval. The group used a combination of paid workers and volunteers to gather signatures.
Election workers validated 4,700 signatures, about 300 more than needed to place the measure on the ballot. There was no need to validate more, but organizers had turned in some 1,800 additional signatures, according to elections supervisor Kathy Fisher.
In the past year, voters in the city of Spokane and Pierce County approved measures requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.
And last November, the state’s voters approved an initiative requiring a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to increase taxes. Nearly 70 percent of voters in Yakima County backed that measure.
However, the state Supreme Court overturned the initiative in February, ruling that any supermajority requirement on the Legislature could only be adopted as an amendment to the state Constitution.
The Pierce County and city of Spokane measures remain valid because they changed their respective city and county charters.
Shoval and Smith also helped lead the unsuccessful 2011 ballot measure to create a strong-mayor form of government in Yakima.